13 tips for Craigslist sellers: use some common sense!

Craigslist sellers take advantage of a great worldwide classified ads site that doesn’t cost them a penny.  Yet many of these sellers make things so frustrating for buyers, that many buyers pass up items due to the wonky terms some of these sellers use.

The first rule of marketing and promotion: make it easy for the buyer to buy from you.  Yet, why do so many CL sellers go against the grain and put hurdles in place?

Here are some helpful tips.  I don’t expect many CL sellers to follow these, but I had to put it out there. I’m sure many will agree.

  1. Always use, accept and read email. Always.  No exceptions. Nothing is more frustrating to us than a buyer who wants buyers to only call or text them. What if I can’t call, or don’t want to?  We are not near a phone 24/7, nor will you like us calling at 3:00am if we spot your item for sale.  Seller, stop being lazy.  This is 2013, not the dark ages.  You should know how to use email by now.  By the same token…
  2. The more contact methods you have, the better.  Email? Always, without exception.  Phone or text?  Even better!  If you’re a business, you might even include your location so visitors can stop by.  However…
  3. Be careful if you are an individual–never give out your home address in a publicly listed ad!
  4. List a fair price. Do your research.  I’m not paying $150 for your 7″ Kindle Fire HD when the same exact item sells new on Amazon for $139.  Check out prices for pre-owned equivalents to what you have, and use the absolute lowest figure you find–this is often as much as most CL buyers expect to pay.  Unfortunate as it may be.
  5. Also, never sell items as a bundle.  Gaming systems are a prime example.  Yes, you may want to sell your Wii bundle with 30 games for $400, but consider the following.  Who has $400 to blow all at once?  Not many.  Breaking up the items makes the smaller chunks more affordable.  With a gaming system, most buyers are only going to like maybe three or four of your 30 titles.  Why should they buy the extra 26 they don’t want?  Selling minor needed accessories with a game console makes sense, but leave the games out (unless it is a single game bundle).  You will even want to split those games up and sell as several related groups or better yet, individually.
  6. Next up: If I respond, please reply. Don’t leave me hanging.  At least tell me a sale is pending.  Or that the item is sold.  But if that item is sold…
  7. Remove your sold items.  Promptly.  If you have a pending sale, note that also. Common courtesy.  Speaking of courtesy…
  8. Be courteous and polite in your replies.  Snipping at a potential buyer does you no favors.
  9. Skip the rambling paragraph about spammers, scammers, etc.  Asking us to use a unique subject line is OK; trust me, most users know a scam  or spam when they see it, and your rambling will do nothing to stop spammers or scammers anyway–they’ll do what they want to.
  10. Learn how to take proper digital photos.  If you must use a camera in your phone, use it correctly and give us a sharp, zoomed in, clear photo at full size.  And please learn how to rotate them properly!
  11. Do not ever use keywords in a post.  Many of us now search on titles only.  Keywords will also get you flagged by others, including yours truly–it is forbidden in CL’s terms of service, actually.  Keywords do nothing but pollute the search results with unwanted items, and you only anger those who see your unrelated listing in their search results.  Never use keywords.  Ever.  And also…
  12. Do not “vertical spam”.  Yes, we see your ad.  We don’t need to see it four times in a row.  You think keyword spamming pisses people off?  Vertical spamming will get all of your posts flagged.  Serves you right.
  13. And finally…learn how to spell and use your grammar. Not everyone has to be perfect, but posting in childish “txt spk” or in such poorly written English (or native language of choice) that we can barely understand it does you no favors.

It’s not that hard to create a good, concise listing on Craigslist.  Follow these tips and your listings will be most effective…without getting flagged!

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